National Wildlife Week begins today. How are you going to celebrate?
If you're undecided, I have a few suggestions that are sure to get to you close to Florida wildlife:
Hike along part of the 2,000-mile Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. As the name suggests, it's full of opportunities for wildlife viewing and birding. The trail is divided into four sections: East, West, Panhandle and South. Wherever you are in Florida, you're probably not far from a spot on the trail. Visit www.floridabirdingtrail.com to find out more.
Have a nice paddle along one of the state's rivers or at a crystal-clear spring to see fish, turtles, alligators, otters and more. Even though the cold weather is behind us, you can still find manatees in fresh water in parts of the state. King's Bay in Crystal River is one place where some manatees live year-round.
Visit a Florida State Park. Just like the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, you shouldn't have a problem finding one wherever you are in the state. There are 160 parks to choose from, with opportunities to see plenty of wildlife. Check out Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, where you'll find black bear, alligators, manatees, deer and many other species. Take a river tour at Wakulla Springs State Park near Tallahassee, where you'll drift pass bald cypress trees and see alligators, wading birds and sometimes manatees.
Celebrated since 1938, National Wildlife Week is the longest-running education campaign of the National Wildlife Federation. It's meant to instill conservation ethics and to connect children and families to nature. For more information, visit www.nwf.org.